Thursday ยท August 17, 2023
Discover Nature's Haven: Cataloochee Horse Camp in North Carolina
Author: Admin
Cataloochee Horse Camp in New York | Top Horse Trails

Ensconced in a tranquil and verdant canopy, lies a hidden gem known as Cataloochee Horse Camp located within the breathtaking Cataloochee Valley. A testament to the splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this campground stands as a gateway to some of the most coveted horseback riding trails in the region. With a rich tapestry of biodiversity, ancient mountains, and a vibrant Southern Appalachian culture, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has rightfully earned its reputation as America's most visited national park.

A Wilderness Retreat Amidst Nature's Canvas

Cataloochee Horse Camp beckons to adventurers seeking an immersive experience in the heart of nature's grandeur. Tucked away within the Cataloochee Valley, this campground offers primitive-woods camping, where the embrace of towering trees creates a refreshing shade. Open spaces intermingle with the dappled sunlight, forming the perfect backdrop for communal activities and shared moments. However, campers must remember to bring their own potable water, as this essential resource is not provided on-site.

For those without equine companions, the nearby Cataloochee Campground offers additional camping space, while the Cataloochee Group Camp provides an expansive setting for group gatherings. Each site at Cataloochee Horse Camp is thoughtfully equipped with four horse stalls, complete with hitching racks, ensuring a convenient and comfortable stay for both riders and their noble steeds.

A Symphony of Trails Beckons

Enthusiasts of horseback riding and exploration will find Cataloochee Horse Camp a dream come true. Access to the area's most sought-after trails, such as the Rough Fork and Caldwell Fork Trails, makes this site a haven for riders seeking unparalleled experiences. The park itself is a hiker's paradise, offering gems like the Boogerman Trail, an enchanting 3.9-mile journey through densely forested terrain, inviting visitors to stretch their legs and forge their own path.

Natural Wonders Await

Beyond the trails, Cataloochee Horse Camp invites campers to explore the wonders of the wilderness. The cool waters of numerous streams and rivers that meander through the mountains offer a playground for backcountry fishing, where wild trout thrive in abundance. For wildlife enthusiasts, the park's inhabitants provide captivating encounters. With an estimated 1,500 bears residing within the park, bear sightings are not uncommon. The Cataloochee area further boasts a majestic elk herd that graces the valley, creating a truly remarkable spectacle of nature's diversity.

Preserving Heritage and History

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park proudly houses an exquisite collection of historic log buildings, a tribute to the region's rich history. Over 90 structures, ranging from houses and barns to churches and grist mills, stand as testaments to a bygone era. The Cataloochee Horse Camp finds itself amidst this living history, where the Palmer House, with its self-guided museum, offers a glimpse into the past.

Cataloochee Horse Camp beckons adventurers, riders, and nature enthusiasts to embark on an extraordinary journey into the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. With its rich tapestry of landscapes, horse-friendly amenities, and access to pristine trails, this campground is a haven where the spirit of exploration thrives, and memories are woven into the fabric of nature itself.



Take I-40 east from Knoxville, TN, or west from Asheville, NC. Exit I-40 at NC exit 20, twenty-five miles west of Asheville (87 miles east of Knoxville). Turn right onto Cove Creek Road 1/10 miles from I-40. Follow Cove Creek Road approximately 11 miles to Cataloochee horse camp.


Cataloochee Horse Camp offers the following facilities and amenities:

  • Horse stalls with hitching racks
  • Campfire Rings
  • Horse Watering Station
  • Horseback Riding Trails
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Tables
  • Trailheads
  • Vault Toilets
  • Fire Pit
  • Picnic Table
  • Grills/Fire Ring
  • Horse Stall/Corral



  • You MUST have a HORSE to camp at Cataloochee Horse Camp
  • There is no potable water provided at the campground, so visitors must bring their own.
  • The nearby Cataloochee Campground offers additional camping space for those visitors without horses, and the Cataloochee Group Camp provides a larger space for group trips.
  • Access to Cataloochee is via a narrow, winding, mountain road. A 3-mile stretch of gravel road contains many narrow, blind curves. Though many campsites will accommodate large rigs, motorhomes over 32' and trailers over 25' in length are not recommended due to the access road.
  • There are no showers or electric, water, or sewer hook-ups in the park.
  • Quiet hours are in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Generator use is restricted to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • You MUST have a horse to camp in a horse camp. All horses must have a current Coggins test. There is a 4-horse stall located at each of the campsites. Horses may not be tied to trees. Campers are responsible for cleaning their stalls before departure and placing waste in a manure trailer. Important Information: Food storage regulations are strictly enforced. Horse feed is also covered by food storage regulations.
  • With the exception of Big Creek, horse camps do not have potable water.
  • A Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license is required to fish in the park. Special regulations apply in the park.
  • Pets are permitted but cannot be left unattended. All pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets are not allowed on trails.
  • Beginning March 1, a valid parking tag is required for any vehicle parking for more than 15 minutes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Front country campers parked at their designated campsite will not be required to have a parking tag. If they park elsewhere in the park, a parking tag will be required. Please note that parking tags will be required for vehicles in excess of what is allowable for each campsite.
  • Caution: Bears and other wildlife frequent the area. All food and equipment used to prepare and store food must be kept in a sealed vehicle or camping unit of solid, non-pliable material AT ALL TIMES when not in use. All scented items, as well as all water containers, MUST be stored. Dispose of garbage promptly in the dumpsters provided. Unattended or improperly stored coolers, food, and/or scented items may be impounded by campground staff. Violators are subject to fines.
  • Firewood Restriction
  • Access to Cataloochee is via a narrow, winding, mountain road. A 3-mile stretch of gravel road contains many narrow, blind curves. Though many campsites will accommodate large rigs, motorhomes over 32' and trailers over 25' in length are not recommended due to the access road.
  • For additional park information call 865-436-1200 or visit


Cost Details:

  • Equestrian Nonelectric - $30.00 per night


If you want to discover and explore other campsites and horse trails, here are some of them that you may visit:




GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK - Mount Sterling via Mount Sterling Gap


Cataloochee Horse Camp does require reservations for overnight accommodations. Please visit their page here on Top Horse Trails - Cataloochee Horse Camp for more information